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June 2018

“Untaken Paths”- Film Screening and Discussion

June 10 @ 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Film Screening of Untaken Paths (2017, 106 min, English subtitles) from director Tahmieh Milani will be followed by a panel discussion. About the Film: Legendary feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani is no stranger to stories of women’s marital struggles. Untaken Paths, her fourteenth feature, tells the story of a young woman in love who marries against the wishes of her family. She is challenged when her nascent marriage is thrown into trouble because of the couple’s roots in different social strata. The…

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May 2018

Is There a Persian Literary History? Twentieth-century Journals and the Formation of Literary Criticism

May 20 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Aria Fani (UC Berkeley) This talk will consider the role of early twentieth-century Persian-language journals in institutionalizing what we know as Persian literary history today in Iran and Afghanistan. The focus of the talk will be Mohammad Taqi Bahar’s journal Daneshkadeh, and in particular ‘Abbas Eqbal-Ashtiyani’s series titled “Tarikh-e adabi” (Literary history, 1918-1919). Once we investigate the ways in which literary journals have helped to forge and institutionalize Persian literary history, they will emerge not just as a byproduct of…

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April 2018

The Frankfurt School, Authoritarianism, Fundamentalism and Cosmetics: From 1920s Germany to Contemporary Middle East

April 22 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Janet Afary (UC Santa Barbara) There is very little information on the romantic and sexual behaviors of young Muslim contemporaries in the Middle East, or among immigrant communities in the West. However, Facebook has provided us with a new tool, which permits a better understanding of young Muslim practices from Algeria and Egypt to Iran and Pakistan. In this lecture, two questions will be addressed: is there’s a link between authoritarianism and the desire to control women’s bodies? Furthermore, is there a connection between authoritarianism and Islamic religious…

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Panel on Environment and Sustainability (in Persian)

April 8 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Following the lectures of the speakers, there will be a period for Q & A. Amir AghaKouchak (UC Irvine) Anthropogenic Drought and the Notion of Water-Bankruptcy خشکسالی انسانی و مقوله ورشکستگی آبی The presentation focuses on Iran currently experiencing serious water and environmental problems. Droughts coupled with increasing water demands and over-abstraction of surface and groundwater resources have escalated the nation’s water situation to a critical level. We argue that while climate change has played a role, the primary drivers…

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February 2018

Why and How Iranian Identity has become so Politicized? (Lecture in Persian)

February 11 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Mehrzad Boroujerdi (Syracuse) In this presentation, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University and Visiting Scholar at UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies, will address such issues as the central tenants of Iranian identity, attempts to refine it, and the current challenges and controversies regarding this contested notion.

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In Search of Modern Iran (Lecture in Persian)

February 3 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Abbas Amanat (Yale) In this book talk given in Persian, Abbas Amanat discusses the challenges and rewards of writing about a half millennium of history in his recently published book: Iran: A Modern History  (Yale University Press, 2017).

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November 2017

Computers and Challenges of Writing in Persian

November 20, 2017 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

A lecture in English by Behrooz Parhami (UCSB). November 20, 2017.  The Persian script has presented some difficulties, ever since printing presses were introduced in Iran in the 1600s. The appearance of typewriters created additional problems and the introduction of digital computers added to the design challenges. These difficulties persisted, until high-resolution dot-matrix printing offered greater flexibility to font designers and the expansion of the computer market in the Middle East attracted investments on improving the Persian script for computers. Nevertheless,…

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Computers and Challenges of Writing in Persian

November 19, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

A lecture in Persian by Behrooz Parhami (UCSB). November 19, 2017. The Persian script has presented some difficulties, ever since printing presses were introduced in Iran in the 1600s. The appearance of typewriters created additional problems and the introduction of digital computers added to the design challenges. These difficulties persisted, until high-resolution dot-matrix printing offered greater flexibility to font designers and the expansion of the computer market in the Middle East attracted investments on improving the Persian script for computers. Nevertheless,…

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October 2017

What Kind of Wine did Rudaki Fancy?

October 9, 2017 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

A lecture in English by Kamran Talattof (University of Arizona). October 09, 2017. One of the earliest Persian poets, Rudaki (859–941), employed the word wine within a wide semantic register in his poems. However, his unicity is most manifest when the process of wine making is depicted within a highly allegorical poem entitled “Mother of Wine.” Through contextual, historical, and discursive analyses, it is argued that this poem—written in the form of a qasideh—was composed for the purpose of being performed…

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Sexuality and Cultural Change in Iranian Cinema

October 8, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

A lecture in Persian by Kamran Talattof (University of Arizona). October 8, 2017. The history of Iranian cinema adequately reflects the construction of gender in Iran. But the expression of sexuality is a problematic notion on a number of levels. In western societies, the preoccupation with human sexuality prompted reflection about human physiology, gender identity, and ethical considerations, resulting in the perception of sex as ontologically separate from mere reproduction, eventually facilitating sexual expression. In traditional segments of Iranian society,…

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